Reflections on the Baptist Identity Conference, pt. 1

After a few days to ruminate on the recent conference held at Union University, I am prepared to start offering some of my reflections. Audio recordings are available. First and foremost, I am greatly appreciative of Dr. David Dockery and the faculty and staff of Union University for sponsoring this conference. It is a reflection of the keen insight that Dr. Dockery and those who serve with him have into the current concerns and great needs of the Southern Baptist Convention. If we are going to see the SBC move forward without coming apart at the seams then we will need much more of the kind of wisdom that organized and planned this event.

The contrast between the sessions at the identity conference and the all-too-typical-fare that is regularly served up by various Southern Baptist leaders and spokesmen is stark. That is true in both spirit and content. Most of the speakers that I heard communicated with a contagious humility. That in no way suggests that they were convictionless. Quite the opposite was the case. All of the speakers addressed their subjects without the kind of arrogance and triumphalism that has become standard for denominational meetings. It was refreshing and very helpful in promoting genuine dialogue about important issues.

Each talk was also thoughtful. Though no one was called on to exposit Scripture (though Frank Page did draw his points from Philippians 1), each speaker used Scripture to direct and challenge our thinking, even when the main subject at hand was historical (Patterson and Dockery) and biographical (Moore). More than one speaker emphasized the importance of exercising care in not making secondary and tertiary issues primary concerns. And more than one warned against trying to impose personal preferences on others as if they were binding biblical commandments. That is a quite a contrast from the kind of legalism and unfounded castigations that are being championed from certain sectors of denomational life.

Thoughtful humility and humble thoughtfulness. We need huge doses of both injected into the life of the Southern Baptist Convention if it is to retain its viability in this post-denominational world.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
Get Founders
in Your Inbox
A weekly brief of our new teaching resources.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

SEARCH ARTICLES
Teaching BY TYPE
Teaching BY Author
Founders Podcasts